Archive for the “T-Wolves” Category

I care more about the Timberwolves than anyone my age should care about something so relatively unimportant

I was absolutely shocked that the Wolves did not move up in the NBA lottery. Just shocked. The Wolves have been around since 1989. They have never moved UP in the draft. They have always drafted where their record dictates they should draft or lower. That is hard to do. Good things simply don’t happen to the Wolves. I mentioned something similar two years ago.

Even as an unbiased fan I think the lottery system is broken. The NBA has changed the rules of the lottery multiple times, can’t they do it again? What if they had four pools of teams? Right now 14 teams are in the lottery. Here is my suggestion.
• Teams 13 and 14 simply draft in those positions. This year, that would be Indiana who finished 36-46 (missed the playoffs by three games) and Phoenix, who finished 46-36 (winning record, would have been the 5th seed in the East, missed the playoffs by two games in the West).
• Teams 9, 10, 11 and 12 pull names out of a hat to draft in those positions
• Teams 5, 6, 7 and 8 pull names out of a hat to draft in those positions
• Teams 1, 2, 3 and 4 pull names out of a hat to draft in those positions
Why doesn’t that work? Teams sandbag at the end of the year now hoping for one more ping pong ball. You could still technically have a weighted lottery in each group. Or just give each team an equal chance within that group. That would give a 25% chance for each team in each group to get the highest pick in that group. That has to be better than the current system.

The lottery clearly isn’t the only reason the Wolves are terrible, but a little luck can’t hurt.

Let’s recap the past few years.

2005: Minnesota drafts Rashad McCants (Danny Granger was selected three picks later)
2006: Minnesota drafts Brandon Roy (3rd team All-NBA this year) with the 6th overall pick and traded him for Randy Foye, the 7th overall pick.
2007: Portland and Minnesota tie for the sixth worse record in the league. There is a coin flip, which Minnesota wins so they have a slightly better chance in the lottery. BUT, Portland moves up from the 7th pick to the 1st pick and takes Greg Oden (could have had Kevin Durant). Minnesota ends up with Corey Brewer. Not a great draft overall.
2008: Minnesota gets the highest draft pick in their history (#3 – last time they had the #3 pick they took Christian Laettner after Shaq and Alonzo Mourning). They draft OJ Mayo and trade him for Kevin Love. –> I’m still holding out hope that this works out. They could have drafted Russell Westbrook or Eric Gordon….hmmm.
2009: Minnesota and Memphis tie for the fifth worse record in the league. Minnesota wins the coin flip, giving them a slightly better chance at moving up in the lottery. BUT, Memphis moves up to the #2 spot and Minnesota moves down to the 6th pick.

I want to be excited for basketball in Minnesota again. I want to root for the Wolves. It’s been tough since KG left and tougher given the decisions the front office has made and the terrible luck the franchise has had in the lottery.

Comments No Comments »

When the Wolves first traded OJ Mayo to Memphis for Mike Miller and Kevin Love I was against it. I just thought that the Wolves needed to take a gamble. As far as careers go, Mayo probably could be a 1 (think Joseph Forte) or a 9 (think top 10 NBA player today). On the other hand, Love could be a 5 (think serviceable, but not All-Star like Andrew Bogut) and he could be a 7 (think Brad Miller when Miller when he was good). I just felt like the Wolves needed to gamble and find a team-changing player. I was and am still a little concerned that Mike Miller is the kind of player that helps you win 40 games, but not the kind of player that helps you win 55 games. Do the Wolves want to be a 40 win team? Let’s hope they are building a team with a goal of 55 wins.

Maybe most of my fear was that McFale pulled off this trade and I have no confidence in him as a General Manager. I feel like teams call the Wolves when they are desperate and need to steal some players.

Some time has passed and I have warmed up to this trade. Mike Miller is a solid player. He averaged 16.4ppg and 6.6rpg last season with Memphis. He shot over 50% from the field and over 40% from three. Playing with an inside force like Al Jefferson will only make him better (assuming Big Al can learn to pass out of a double-team). Kevin Love plays the game the right way. He is strong and gets in good position for rebounds.

If OJ Mayo averaged 16.5ppg and 6.5rpg this season, he would have a shot at Rookie of the Year. So, we get those stats out of Miller AND get Kevin Love. We also dumped Marko Jaric and Antoine Walker in the deal. Walker was easy to trade since he was in the last year of his contract, but getting rid of Jaric’s contract (a mistake McFale brought on a few years ago) was a good move.

My concerns about McFale as a GM and Wittman as a coach are still there. What style of basketball to the Wolves play? As an avid fan I should know this, but I don’t. This is Wittman’s fault. They need to define a style. Again, I like Randy Wittman as a person, but not as a coach. I just don’t ever see “NBA Championship Coach” being written next to Randy Wittman’s name.

I’ve warmed up to this trade a bit, but I’m anxious to see how it plays out. I’m hoping I can learn to love Kevin Love as a basketball player.

Comments No Comments »

There are a bunch of sites claiming the Wolves will select Brook Lopez with the third overall pick. Please tell me McFale won’t do it. Please tell me this is all just speculation. Please tell me the decision makers remember Felton Spencer, Luc Longley and Paul Grant. Nothing can make it more clear than these two videos. You will notice in the first one, they do not show the ball going through the hoop once. Not once. The second one is a video of OJ Mayo, who I believe should be the #3 pick at this point.

Brook Lopez (likes comic books and basketball isn’t his life):

OJ Mayo (his life is basketball):

Comments No Comments »

May 19th, 2004. I witnessed the single worst sporting event of my life at the same time I was witnessing the greatest sporting event of my life. It was Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs. It was a close game that the Wolves ended up winning 83-80 when Chris Webber missed a tying three at the buzzer. It was the worst sporting event I had ever seen because it was so stressful. It was the best sporting event I had ever seen because the Wolves won, KG had one of the most dominant Game 7 performances ever and the Wolves were going to the Western Conference Finals. Sometimes it feels like yesterday. At other times it feels like decades ago.

The NBA Playoffs are about to begin. I was reading Bill Simmons’ annual article on who should be the NBA MVP (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/080416), and I started thinking…..The feeling I had when Chris Webber missed that three and KG jumped up on the scorer’s table to salute the fans…I will never have that feeling again. Never. It is too bad Bill Simmons spent so many years saying Tim Duncan was better than KG. He missed the six straight years KG averaged 21-11-5.

KG is in Boston now and the Wolves are hoping for some luck in the lottery. I’m rooting for the Celtics and KG to win the Championship, but it just won’t be the same as it would have been in 2004. I will never love watching a player the way I loved watching KG in a Wolves uniform. I will never be 25-35 years old again.

Times change and priorities change as well. I guess that is how it is supposed to work. I’m still a sports fan, but clearly my priorities in life have changed.

One day the Wolves may win the NBA Championship. They may have a charismatic leader that plays all out on both ends of the floor every night. This leader may make others play harder just by existing. He may scare his teammates into doing everything they can to help the team win. And if I’m 104 years old sitting in a rocking chair when this happens, I’ll be happy without question. But a second after I digest the championship, I will be thinking, “what a great time to be 25-35 years old.”

The feeling I had May 19th, 2004….I will never have that feeling again.

Here is the recap of that game from ESPN:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=240519016

Look at the details of this (boxscore):
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=240519016
KG finished with 32 points, 21 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals and 5 blocks. As impressive as those stats are, they don’t tell the story of how well he played that game. They don’t show the block on Brad Miller’s layup with less than 10 seconds to play. They don’t show the three KG knocked down as the shot clock expired with just over three minutes to go. And they don’t show the 19,944 people who were chest-bumping and hugging like they had been friends for decades.

The feeling I had that night when Webber’s shot spun out…I will never have that feeling again.

Comments No Comments »

I am too angry, upset, depressed, etc. to write about the topic thoroughly, but I’ll give it a quick try.

Psychologists would tell you that you need to talk about things that upset you this much.  Right now, this blog is my therapist. 

Rumor has it that the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed to a trade involving Kevin Garnett (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2954127).  Let me state that another way, the Wolves are apparently going to trade the only marketable face the franchise has known in its almost 20 years of existence. 

A month ago I came to the realization that this might happen and it might be the only way the Wolves could get better as a team.  I even tried to put myself in Glen Taylor’s shoes.  If I owned the Wolves, would I trade KG and try to get some proven talent and some draft picks?  I’m not sure.  A team never gets fair value for trading away a superstar.  I also still feel the Wolves are closer to a championship trying to find the pieces to play alongside Garnett than they would be dealing Garnett and trying to build with young players.  There are a lot of teams with nice young players that are absolutely terrible teams (see Atlanta with Josh Smith, Josh Childress, Joe Johnson, Marvin & Shelden Williams and Charlotte with Sean May, Emeka Okafur, Raymond Felton and Gerald Wallace and now Jason Richardson).  Having a group of young players might be fun to watch, but it doesn’t necessarily equate to a championship team. 

So what are the parameters of this potential trade?  From the sounds of it, the trade is EXACTLY the same thing Boston was offering one month ago, MINUS the #5 overall pick.  How in the world does this make sense?  If you were buying a car and the dealer said it was $40k and you turned it down, would you go back a month later and buy it for $50k?  Unbelievable. 

Rumor has it the actual specifics of the trade have Boston sending Al Jefferson (solid player who is 22 years old and averaged 16.0ppg and 10.9rpg last season in 69 games), Ryan Gomes (nice player, but not great), Gerald Green (an amazing athlete who knows as much about basketball as I know about space travel), Sebastian Telfair (a thug who likes to pack heat and would be a terrible influence for the young players the Wolves DO have) and Theo Ratliff (a washed up player included simply to make the contracts work). 

If the Wolves decided to trade KG and get younger, I would not agree, but could understand that there was a direction for the franchise.  Al Jefferson may turn into a franchise player, and that’s great. But again this is so upsetting because this is the same trade that was on the table a month ago MINUS the #5 overall pick (used for a very talented Jeff Green from Georgetown).  There is no way to explain this current trade rumor to me that makes sense.  We won’t want any of the Celtics draft picks because having Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and KG will earn a #30 overall pick or worse. 

Glen Taylor, remember how the Vikings made the Dallas Cowboys a dynasty by trading for Hershel Walker? 

I am absolutely convinced that I could perform my current job AND Kevin McHale’s job better than he is doing his job now.  Is this a situation where McFale approached Danny Ainge and said, let’s make Boston a contender, I’ll quit my job (or get fired) with the Wolves, fly out to Boston and we’ll both smoke cigars in Red’s old office. 

One more point.

Boston was able to get Ray Allen from the Sonics for Wally Szczerbiak (big contract), the #5 pick and a handful of scrubs.  Did McFale even consider calling the Sonics and offering Ricky Davis (a 20ppg scorer who could go away at the end of the year if you wanted), Troy Hudson (who could be bought out) and the #7 pick (turned out to be Corey Brewer)?  Would the Wolves be better with a lineup of Foye, Ray Allen and KG or Foye, Ricky Davis and Al Jefferson? 

Again, if they made a decision to trade KG, that would be one thing.  But, they are agreeing to a deal that was made a month ago only missing a possible future All-Star. 

McFale gets paid to make horrible decisions like this.  Amazing.

Comments No Comments »